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December's Journal



28/01/2020 [15:50] Another early start, and another thankfully by-the-numbers patching routine this morning. I was in and working by 07:30 and had everything I'd planned to do done by 08:30. As a result I sneaked in a patch and reboot of all four load balancers/traffic managers with no-one the wiser. Unfortunately, being on such a roll karma decided that I should be given a bucket-load of other patching jobs for all of the next Tuesday and Thursday mornings until at least the beginning of March. It gets everything done, but it really does give me a lot of early starts.

Otherwise today has been one of tracking down bugs with various things, submitting support emails, going for a run a lunch time (which proved to be more tiring that expected, given it was just a 'run for the pleasure of it' thing), and now leaving early to get my hair cut. Maybe tomorrow I'll be told all my servers are racked and I can head out to at least one of the server rooms and start wiring them all in (and maybe starting to learn about iSCSI), or maybe not. We'll see.

27/01/2020 [17:50] I had a surprisingly good weekend, all things considered. Rachel had to leave after brunch on Saturday morning. However, we got the morning together, and then she volunteered at parkrun while I incorporated it into my Saturday training session. Then we had a wonderful cooked (by Rachel) brunch together. The remainder of the day was spent tidying, cleaning, grocery shopping, and generally relaxing and wishing Rachel was still around. On Sunday morning, still concerned about my cold (even though it hadn't really interfered with Saturday's run) I set out for my run and elected to do five mile laps from the house in case I wanted/needed to stop early. In the end I apparently did OK in hitting the numbers I was supposed to, but spent the rest of the day on the sofa to ensure that I wasn't overly tired for the working week. Disappointingly I had takeaway food three nights in a row, although none of it was particularly unhealthy... I think. I'm back on the fish and salad for most of the week, and my carbohydrate intake has (for the most part) been reduced since I stopped (mostly) eating bread and cereal. There are a few blips here and there (pizza over the weekend, and pastry on a quiche I'm going to eat this week), but otherwise that's it. Also quite a bit more protein is going in in the form of chicken. I'd like to hope this change will improve my waistline a bit as well as my running (muscles). We'll see what two more months of it does.

At work today I've been handed a mass of dates for patching servers. Luckily many of them are VMs, so it won't be too much hassle to line them up and knock them down, but some Tuesday and Thursday mornings over the next month or so I've got quite a bit to do. Still, early in means early doors, which is good while the hours of daylight are a bit short. And speaking of which, it's now fully dark outside and I need to go home. There's an Extinction Rebellion protest somewhere on my cycle home so I'm not expecting the traffic to be in a good mood.

24/01/2020 [15:30] Rachel arrived last night, which was lovely. A quiet, muted evening as we were (are) both tired and a bit under the weather. We got a semi-normal bed time as I had to be up moderately early this morning and I didn't get a good night's sleep the night before (and probably wasn't going to get one that night). In the end it was reasonable, but not tremendous. I still made it to work at the time I needed to, the servers got patched and rebooted without issue, and I've even managed to patch and reboot another ten or so servers today (many of them physical and getting firmware updates too). I really haven't done much else today as I've been feeling a little over-hot and not 100%. In fact I think, given the early mornings I've done this week, I'm going to head home after writing this.

This weekend I'll probably be running twice if I feel up to it, saying goodbye to Rachel after tomorrow morning's run as she's going to meet a friend for her 40th birthday (as well as play hockey) and then won't be coming back as the trains are screwed all weekend, go to Tesco at some point, and hopefully fight off the remains of this cold (although I don't actually think I've suffered the worst of it yet). In other news I'm a bit bothered by the damp issues in my shower room (just the way it is given the situation), and am feeling a bit of S.A.D. I think, too.

Anyway, off I go. See you on Monday for more of the same.

23/01/2020 [17:20] The day started badly, as I was woken at 04:50 by the mother next door (her grown-up daughter lives with her) crying, moaning, and almost screaming. Either in physical or emotional pain about something. I get the feeling she or her daughter called 111 as they got a phone call about 30-40 minutes later. I'm not sure what was going on, but it was most distressing as it reminded me of when my mother had a medical issue which resulted in a lot of pain. Things got a bit quiter by around 06:00 and I dozed for about half an hour, not able to really sleep as I knew my alarm was going to go off. I got up, did the morning thing, and headed to work not actually feeling too terrible. At work all my patching and rebooting went off almost without a hitch (corrupt BIOS update needed to be rerun), so then I got on with the normal day's stuff. Lunchtime was a track reps session, which I had been assuming I would have real trouble with given my incipient cold but... it wasn't too bad. Almost good, in fact. I'm pretty sure I hit all of my intervals and wasn't blown away by the effort. I'm wondering if my body's going to get back at me/fail somewhat in the next few hours, or tomorrow. We'll have to see. After my shower I came back to my desk to discover I was a minute late for a teleconference call thingy with a vendor who was demonstrating their product to me and two other people. I dashed through to my team leader's office and sat in on it there, which made more sense in the end than doing it separately at my desk as we could discuss things when we were on mute.

I'm heading home now to clean and tidy the house for Rachel's arrival. She's gone and done all the food shopping I was going to do, so I just get to go home, which is lovely of her. I'm back in again semi-early tomorrow to do more patching and rebooting. Hopefully that'll go just as well as this morning's did.

22/01/2020 [17:05] I definitely have a cold. I had a sore throat last night, and all through the night (it woke me a few times). It meant I didn't feel like getting up at all this morning, although I did manage it after a while. Over the course of the day it has faded slightly (probably not due to me drinking somewhat more water than I normally do; I expect it to worsen again towards the end of the day and overnight), but I think for the next few days I'm going to be pretty snotty, and not feeling great. This isn't going to help my running, or how I feel about getting into work moderately early tomorrow morning for some patching. We'll have to see.

Anyway, other than that the day has been fairly quiet. I've managed to get one of my co-workers to configure the iSCSI ports I need configured for when my servers get put in place by the data center people. So that's one pre-hurdle cleared. Otherwise I've been pootling on with a few minor issues here and there, not really making much progress with anything else, and setting up all the servers I'm going to be patching tomorrow morning. Hopefully that'll all go without a hitch and I can get on with the rest of the day, do my hardest session of the working week (track intervals) and be back at my desk post that, shower, and lunch, in time to attend a conference call/demo of some new technology we might be going with. For now though, home, nice and gently.

21/01/2020 [17:40] Struggled a bit to get out of bed this morning. It might have been something to do with the heat being off in the bedroom, which I usually like, except that it was pretty cold this morning and that affected my desire to leap gazelle-like out from beneath the covers to begin the day. Anyway, once I was up and moving things were a lot better, although the shower room really is very cold at this time of year, and there's nothing I can really do about it. It also means that any kind of hot shower means the walls get quite wet with condensation. Again, nothing I can do about it. It's cavity wall (not filled) with external wall insulation. It's possible I could have the roof redone, but I don't think it would have much effect; the room's exposed on three sides and the ceiling. I do really want to have the extension built over the top of it as I think that would have a reasonable effect on heat loss (through the ceiling only, of course).

Anyway, I cycled in to work, got on with the day, and completely failed to do the thing I'd been particularly interested in doing (getting over to some server rooms to rack up some servers, or at least directing people to do so in person). However, I did manage to solve a few minor issues, schedule some patching mornings, and do a hill reps run at lunch time in some cold but still and clear weather. Let's see if tomorrow can be a smidgen more productive.

20/01/2020 [16:55] Fairly fabbo weekend, I think! It started a little bumpily when Rachel missed her train from London, and I ended up getting all the way to Doncaster without her. We met up at the bus station (so romantic) though, and all was well. On Friday I had a nice relaxing day and basically spent it pottering around the house. Saturday had a run in the morning which went pretty well for me, and also was done in Rachel's company, which made it all the more enjoyable. Right at this moment my mind's a complete blank on what we did the rest of the day, though. I'm sure it'll come back to me later. On Sunday though, while Rachel was taking her mother and sister-in-law to a spa day, I went for a reasonably good two hour run with some marathon pace bits in it, although I couldn't always get the speed I wanted as there was a very thick and slippery frost on the road. After I was back from that though I then spent it with Rachel's father, going for a walk (and scoot) around the village, repairing his 'manual' wheel chair, making lunch and drinks, and pushing him to the pub and back in the evening, as well as putting the pre-prepared dinner in the over for everyone in the evening. I also got a lot of reading done, and came up with a helpful idea for if he falls over and there aren't enough people to get him upright again.

This morning Rachel and I got a horribly early train back to our respective workplaces, and even with a cancelled connection for me, I was in work before 10:00. I've done a reasonable day's worth of keeping the place running, and should be in good shape to potentially get some servers racked up and on the way to being installed by the end of the week, maybe. Right now though I'm heading home to hopefully find that the cold snap over the weekend didn't burst any pipes, go to Tesco for the week's food, and then relax for the evening.

16/01/2020 [14:15] Half day today, day off tomorrow. Hurrah! Rachel and I are heading to see her parents this weekend, and adding a day and a half on the front end. Also, we'll be getting the train back to work on Monday morning, so it's going to be a really early start that day. Still, it does mean more time with Rachel's folks. Over the weekend I'll be running twice, and keeping Rachel's father company while Rachel takes her mother and sister-in-law for a spa day thing.

Happily, today has been nice and quiet with regards to work. Anything that goes wrong after I leave will be someone else's problem. Other than that I've just got back from a really hard track session, so I'm a bit pooped, even though I've just inhaled my lunch. I should leave sooner rather than later so I can cycle slowly to the train station. I'm getting separate trains to Rachel initially, but then meeting her on a train later in my journey. If you cared. Anyway, see you on Monday.

15/01/2020 [17:35] Busy day. I've been to a remote server room to look at racking options, did a whole load of firewall stuff which resulted in realising that there was a bug in our current version of the firewall firmware/OS, went to a meeting where I sat and did nothing at all, bought some new running shoes (and managed to get better insoles for them, which I hope work better in the rain than the ones the shoes normally come with, had lunch at my desk, negotiated with Virgin Media to get my broadband bill reduced for the next 12 months, and managed to sort out my inbox a bit. It has been a busy day. So I'm going home. I might shift the loft insulation upstairs so I don't trip over it.

14/01/2020 [16:20] An interesting day. Loft insulation was ordered on Sunday. The first delivery date available was Tuesday (today), with delivery slot of 08:00-18:00. I got a text on Monday from the courier at 18:49 saying "delivery slot is now Tuesday 14:00-19:00". After a weird night's sleep I headed to work this morning a little bit earlier so I could get my run done early and head come for lunch and to await my delivery. Around 11:00 I got a call from the courier driver saying "I'm outside your house." His docket says "08:00-13:00 delivery slot". As a result I had to have him leave the stuff in the back garden in the rain. I called the courier, who claim they don't even have a 14:00-19:00 slot. After doing my run as quickly as I could without messing up the reason for the session I cycle home in the rain and rescue the loft insulation. It's mostly dry, but is now sitting next to the radiators around the house waiting for them to come on this evening. All this afternoon I've been getting texts from the courier saying my stuff is out for delivery. "It's on its way." "Nearly there." and then "Your delivery was signed for by MY_NAME_HERE."

Really? Was it? Think really hard now, courier company.

Anyway, I'm home now, have done some usful stuff for people at work, had a shower, and some lunch, and am about ready to end the day, put on a film, and wonder when I'm going to get around to actually doing the whole loft job. I have a paper suit and a face mask too, so I shouldn't end up with my lungs and skin full of fibres. Probably.

13/01/2020 [18:00] Busy weekend, very busy day. On Friday I headed to London, met Rachel and her nephew and we all went back to Croydon together. On Saturday morning we took the train into town and then made a game of crossing the Thames on as many different modes of transport as possible. We managed seven before we had to head back to Croydon for a cinema trip. After that we headed home, had some dinner and then I ran for the train back to my house. Rachel took her nephew to sleep in a museum overnight at a thing called "Dinosnores". On Sunday morning I did a long run with some sections of "marathon pace" in it. Only once or twice did I actually hit the pace I was supposed to. How I'm going to manage to keep that pace for 42.2km I don't know, at the moment. After that I spent the rest of the day on the sofa trying not to get to stiff and sore.

This morning I got into work and set about upgrading Red Hat Satellite, with an audience of two who are aiming to learn how it's done. Unfortunately, while nothing actually broke, per se, I had to send them away after a few hours as things weren't going well. I only really finished tidying things up at about 17:00. To finish of the day I got on with some of the other things I should have been doing today, which ended up with having someone else come to look over my shoulder while I created a mass of firewall rules for our incoming Citrix environment. I didn't even get time today to go and buy my new trainers from the running shop. Maybe I'll get to do that tomorrow, although first I have to wait in for my loft insulation to be delivered. I did spend some time on Sunday measuring the loft area and ordering rolls of insulation, a paper suit, and a face mask. The new insulation is rock wool, so shouldn't be an issue. It's the pre-existing fibreglass stuff (which I think is laid across the joists, not between them, so will need relaying) which is going to require some protection.

Anyway, it's late, I'm tired, time to go home. Hopefully the storm hasn't hit yet and I won't get soaked on the way home.

10/01/2020 [16:50] Despite a really terrible night's sleep, today hasn't been all that bad. I had a pretty good run at lunch time which restored a smidgen of confidence (but not a huge amount), chatted to Rachel online a bit (which is always good), and got a few useful things done work-wise. I'm off to relocate some decommissioned servers now, and then heading to the train station to get a train to London to meet Rachel and her nephew. We're seeing how many times we can cross the Thames via different modes of travel tomorrow, then going to the cinema in the evening. I'll come home after that while the two of them spend a night in a museum (very cool). Sunday's long run day, with some marathon pace sections for the first time this training cycle. We'll have to see how that goes. I fully intend to measure up the roof space (by measuring across the first floor of the house, rather than go into the loft) so I can order and have delivered some more loft insulation. I've been meaning to do it for months now, but I can feel it that this is the weekend I actually get it done. The measuring, at least. I also need to order a paper suit and maybe even some face mask/filter things as what's already in the loft really is pretty nasty.

09/01/2020 [18:15] I suppose today was OK. I'm in a weird mood at the moment and it's disconcerting for all kinds of reasons. I wasn't quite as tired as the past two days when I got up this morning, but it was still a bit of an effort to get on with the morning. At work everything was bitty and there wasn't really anything to get my teeth into for most of the time. The lunch session was hills, which went well, I think. Honestly some days I can't really tell. After lunch I was in a room with my two immediate line managers doing the last of the interviews for a new post in my team. This one was by teleconferencing software, and seemed to go off without a hitch, which was good. The candidate was OK, but I don't think we're going to offer him the job. Or at least not this one at this time.

I'm going to go home now and see if I can't work myself out of this funk somehow. I might call Rachel again this evening and see if that perks me up at all.

08/01/2020 [17:15] Not much went on today. I was still really tired when I woke up this morning, although the cycle in wasn't too bad legs-wise. My major achievement of the day was getting a raft of servers elsewhere on our network reporting to our old-school monitoring system. Of course, one of them turned out to have some bad RAM, so I'm getting that replaced tomorrow (by which I mean I'm the one going to do it). Otherwise I don't think there was much else going on. I did some useful stuff with some PHP modules, and generally kept the place ticking over, but nothing of any real import.

Oh, last night I went and watched the new Star Wars film. Colour me somewhat underwhelmed and a bit disappointed. Not only that but one scene gave me a real downer about real life, which didn't help either.

07/01/2020 [16:20] Quick entry today as I'm off to the cinema. Rachel came back last night, which was wonderful as we got another quiet evening together. She (with a smidgen of help from me) made an amazing dinner which was truly delicious. Then we watched some television and went to bed. I woke up feeling just as tired as yesterday morning, which was a bit disappointing. This manifested again in tired legs when cycling to work, and in a poorish track session at lunch time. In more positive news I think I've managed to get servers outside of the firewall (and inside another one) talking to my monitoring system, which is helpful and a real step forward. Tomorrow I'm going to try getting the last of the servers (physical ones, not VMs) doing the same thing.

However, now I'm off to see the last Star Wars film. See you tomorrow.

06/01/2020 [17:15] The first full working week of the year. I wouldn't say it started too badly as nothing seems to have gone wrong over the weekend. We had a great time for the most part. On Friday I cycled into town and checked into the place we were staying for the night, only to discover that the deal Rachel had booked included spending a certain amount in the restaurant, so we moved our booked dinner elsewhere to Saturday night and I waited in the room until she arrived. We had a lovely meal and then retired to our room for the night. In the morning, having decided not to do parkrun (yay!), we had a slightly delayed breakfast due to the restaurant being extremely short-staffed. However, it was still lovely. As we'd moved the dinner booking from the previous night to that night we elected to stay in town and went for a nice long walk before wandering around a local museum, a few shops, and then plonking ourselves in a bookshop until dinner. That too was a lovely meal and we very gently cycled ourselves back to the house afterwards. On Sunday we went for separate runs of just over two hours each, came back and had a rather nice lunch of vegetarian hotdogs and salad. While the afternoon was restful we did have to discuss a few disappointing things which we both think we've got a good handle on and should be able to solve/deal with through concerted effort on both our parts. So that's good (yay again!). At the end of the weekend, having watched just slightly more of The West Wing than we should have, we went to bed.

This morning Rachel had to dash for the train, having left a little later than she planned. Hopefully she won't have to dash quite so much coming back here this evening (which is really awesome). I've had a reasonable day of work, although when I went out at lunch time to buy new trainers there weren't any in stock in my size, so I'm going to have to wait for them to call me when they come in. Otherwise I had a productive meeting, was told about seven servers I need to have racked and then get installed in the next little while, and bought train tickets to Manchester for the weekend I do the marathon in April. That's all getting a bit more real now, not to mention that the training's getting a bit tougher now, too. I just wish I was more confident about how that was going and my fitness level.

03/01/2020 [17:25] As I was going to be working a little later this evening (meeting Rachel in town for dinner out and then an overnight in a posh hotel as my Christmas present) I chose this morning to come in just a little later. So obviously last night was the night when a VMWare host went down and an important VM guest didn't quite manage not to reboot when VMotioned and then failed to start ClamAV correctly because it's running in a weird socket mode and this means file permissions have to be different. This wasn't really my fault, but I'm the only person who could really have modified things to make everything work correctly. Consequently, when I got in this morning I noticed things were amiss on the monitoring system, but had things fixed before the people who'd been coming in to the office regularly to find me came back again to ask me about it. Since then I've been getting thanks from people about fixing it, but it sort of feels like it was my fault that it wasn't resilient in the first place. Additionally, because of this issue the 'unison' process is going to take 24 hours (more or less) to get back up to speed, so in the meantime the server with the issue has to sit out of the traffic manager solution, so the service is still non-resilient. No great loss, but still my fault I feel.

Anyway, aside from that, I fixed a few things with only a little help from other people to point out the things my eyes had glazed over on from working on them for too long. That was good. I also got notification from my team leader that the random bits of work I did over the festive period because a) I was bored and, b) I wanted to save myself some work in the new year may net me some TOIL, which is nice. Although any time I spend away from here usually means that I have to play catch-up on the stuff I missed when I was away. So it's a double-edged sword in that regard.

For now though I'm off to put on jeans, and then head to the hotel to check in before Rachel arrives on the train, then cycle to the place we're eating (on a Christmas/birthday present to Rachel last year) to meet her. Saturday we may or may not do parkrun depending on the time we get out of bed and the attractiveness of the breakfast (hint: It's very attractive), then perhaps some pottering in town. Sunday will have a long run for both of us (separate, as we're on different training plans), then probably some relaxing and watching of The West Wing.

02/01/2020 [17:20] Happy New Year, and all that stuff. I had a rather lovely festive period away from work, even if I did suffer from a few rather deep bouts of depression, and didn't do as well in my 10K race as I'd been hoping for. The overwhelming majority of the last week and a bit was absolutely fab though. All the time spent with both sets of parents and other family member (although my brother and his son were ill, so I didn't get to see them (or get ill myself)), the travel, and the giving of gifts to others rather than ourselves was pretty great. Coming home with Rel and having a few days of just us on our own was exactly what I needed at the end of it all, though.

Here at work, amazingly, everything seems to be fairly OK. There were a few (and still are) ongoing issues which I kept an eye on over the time I was away, and the people responsible for them still aren't back at work yet so I'll have to continue doing so, but otherwise things seem to currently be pretty quiet. This has meant that today wasn't too much of a stressor for me, even with having to say goodbye to Rachel this morning as she headed off back to London and thence to Croydon this evening. Speaking of Rachel, she got an truly astonishing new personal best for 10K just a few days ago. I, on the other hand, got possibly my slowest time in that race for many years. Not only that but a rowing friend of mine just recently beat the time I did in that race on a training run around Stevenage. Honestly, some times I wonder if my body just doesn't want to get fitter any more.

Anyway, all that aside, I did a reasonable track session at lunch time today, got (I think) all of this site updated for 2020, and I'm about to go home and catch up on some television I couldn't watch over the festive period as other people were around and I was being sociable. Back in work tomorrow for the end of a wonderfully short two day week.